If you have autism or you know someone with autism who is looking for long-term solutions, you might be wondering how nootropics can help. That’s what we’ll explore in this post. But first, what is autism?
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism is one of the most misunderstood conditions. People often refer to it as a mental illness but, in reality, it is a behavioral disorder that may result from several biological reasons. It leads to poor communication skills development, social interactions, and rigid behaviors. Symptoms of autism may include what’s been known as Asperger’s Syndrome and pervasive developmental conditions.
Because of the varying symptoms that autism covers, it is now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD varies in severity, from a few obstacles towards regular life to a long-term handicapped situation that demands intensive care. Therefore, many people with ASD might face many challenges trying to fit into society.
How do Nootropics work?
Research on their effects is still ongoing, but so far, they have been found to improve cognitive functions, creativity, memory, and motivation.
For a substance to be classified as a nootropic, it should improve one or more aspects of cognitive functioning, such as attention or memory. These supplements work in a number of ways including by protecting neurons in your brain from aging and toxins. Primarily, they stimulate neurons and improve blood flow to the brain, which results in enhanced attention span and improved cognitive functions.
Can nootropics help with ASD?
Statistics by the CDC state that 1 out of 59 children in the United States is autistic. About half of these children manage their symptoms using elimination diets, chelation therapy, facilitated communication, auditory integration training, immune globulin therapy, and nutritional supplements.
The research on the use of nootropics for autism is showing positive results. To fully understand how nootropics can improve ASD symptoms, it is essential to get a grasp of the areas that would be thoroughly enhanced by incorporating the supplements in the diet.
Symptoms that would be improved by Nootropics
The lack of vocabulary is a significant issue for autistic people. Usually, individuals have a difficult time communicating. They are unable to relay the message because it is distorted midway.
Using nootropics can enable the brain to be better at expanding its vocabulary. They can ensure that, regardless of the situation, you will speak in a concise manner that can be decoded with ease. That way, your message will come out accurate and you will have an easier time getting along with people than before.
If you have autism, the chances are that your neurons are not working optimally. This is because they are damaged due to genetic and nutritional deficiencies. The lack of healthy neurons might make it difficult for your brain to comprehend the stimuli that it is receiving.
Nootropics come in handy by repairing the damaged neurons and making them stronger than they were previously. This is important since it allows one to improve your general health and they make your brain more effective at judging what is going on around you. It also creates an appropriate response.
Autistic people face severe challenges when it comes to issues like attention span and concentration. They are unable to focus on a single aspect for a long time, which forces them to spend hours trying to read material that would take someone else an hour to finish.
When autistic children and adults start taking nootropics, one of the apparent effects is that their confidence improves. Therefore, they can read at speeds they would not have managed previously. They can even compete with people who do not show ASD symptoms.
Autistic individuals have a hard time falling asleep and getting a good night’s sleep. The issue results in hormonal imbalances as well as overactive brain pathways that make them overthink. With several thoughts juggling through their minds, they have a difficult time falling asleep.
When an autistic person starts taking nootropic supplements, sometimes they find that getting sleep becomes more natural and they can sleep for prolonged periods. The effects are so good that they wake up feeling well rested and ready to tackle obstacles that the day’s challenges might send their way. Considering the great benefits that good sleep has to offer, with the help of nootropics, people with ASD experience a higher quality of life.
Another symptom that is dominant in autistic individuals is poor optical recognition. They tend to have difficulty connecting images to the real objects that they represent.
Using nootropics helps enhance the brain’s ability to recognize images for what they are. This enables the individual to connect visual representations of real-world objects with the real item. While you will have to put in some effort to experience optimal optical recognition, nootropics will give you the boost you require to get going.
Besides your neurons, the neurotransmitters in your brain might also not be functioning like they should because of autism. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that function as catalysts to boost electrical signals. The information that your mind receives travels via the most efficient route possible.
Autistic individuals lack enough of certain neurotransmitters that enable their brain to work optimally, but nootropics can be of great assistance. They improve the symptoms by adjusting the transmission ability of these neurotransmitters. That way, your brain will work at maximum speeds.
Nootropics that have been found to improve ASD symptoms
Essential fatty acids
Autistic children may experience some of their symptoms due to a deficiency in fatty acids. Some studies have also associated childhood autism to fatty acid deficiency. Research shows that children with autism are unable to break down fatty acids at the rate they should be because the cells that are responsible for this function develop at a slower pace. Oily fish is one of the primary sources of fatty acids because they contain essential fatty acids like omega-3.
Supplementation with essential fatty acids has been employed for more than a decade now. In 2005, Nordic Naturals Inc., which is a supplier of essential fatty acid supplements, reported that they found the supplements to improve language and learning skills in autistic kids and those with Asperger’s Syndrome during a pilot trial. The study lasted for three months, and the participants were 18 autistic children between ages three and ten. They were each given the daily recommended dosage of omega-3 and omega-6. The statistical analysis was completed at Arizona University and they showed a considerable increase in all the participant’s learning and language skills.
Besides this research, other studies suggest that essential fatty acid supplementation may not be useful. So, it is not possible to make a conclusive statement on the effects, but there is a high likelihood of the essential fatty acids helping ease ASD in children.
Vitamin B6 has a significant impact on gastrointestinal and sleep issues in autistic kids. Therefore, a high dose of vitamin B6 supplements may be given to autistic children, mostly for gastrointestinal problems. The vitamin is also critical for regular brain functioning in children. The enzyme required to break down B6 to PLP might not function well in autistic kids. It results in the inability of the brain to synthesize dopamine. Dopamine deficiency may result in depression. So, availing vitamin B6 might boost the levels of PLP and reduce the ASD symptoms. Vitamin B6 also helps synthesize essential neurotransmitters that benefit autistic children.
Autistic children tend to have low levels of active glutathione because there is a disruption in the transsulfuration metabolic pathway. The supplement is a peptide consisting of three amino acids: glutamic acid, glycine and cysteine. When used as a dietary supplement, gluthanione works as an antioxidant to protect the body against toxic metals and toxins. The positive effects seen from taking glutathione supplements comes from some studies and personal testimonials. Although there is limited data with regards to how this supplement can help relieve ASD symptoms, further research is necessary because glutathione is a popular supplement.
Phospholipid fatty acids
Neuron structural membranes are composed primarily of the phospholipid fatty acids. Their role is in modulating functions of the neuronal cell membranes. Clinical evidence proves that the metabolism of these fatty acids varies in those with psychiatric disorders. Phospholipids are present at low levels in children with ASD. Therefore, taking these fatty acid supplements may improve the neural condition of autistic kids.
Research shows that it is possible for vitamin B12 supplementation to reduce many of autism’s symptoms. The supplement is one of the critical DAN biomedical interventions that are in use. One theory as to why B12 has such positive effects is based on evidence that autistic kids can absorb methylcobalamin B12. According to research by researchautism.net, which is a UK based Website, using vitamin B12 supplements help in alleviating the defects in the transmethylation system.
James A. Neubrander, MD, who is considered an initiator of the methyl-12 supplements to ease ASD symptoms, reports that 94 percent of patients in his private clinic had shown improvement when they used the supplement. Neubrander reports that a vitamin B12 injection given once in every three days can show effects within five weeks.
Symptoms of an overdose of B12 injects are unknown at the moment. Although additional trials with more subjects are necessary to confirm the success of B12, it remains a popular treatment for ASD.
Magnesium deficiency is known to cause an array of developmental and neurological issues. When given in the right doses and proper timing, magnesium can improve the condition of autistic children. It also enhances the functioning of the nervous system. It reduces stress, anxiety and panic attacks. If a person with ASD has trouble sleeping, taking magnesium supplements may help alleviate sleeping difficulties. It can also assist in eliminating digestion issues in autistic children.
Antifungal agents and probiotics
Research suggests that an overgrowth in the intestines of autistic children is responsible for the symptoms that they manifest. Some of the treatments that are useful in managing these symptoms include dietary modifications to decrease the substrate for yeast growth, systemic antifungal agents and probiotic agents like lactobacillus to change the bacterial balance in the intestine. Although these treatments for ASD remain popular, no clinical trials have been published so far in peer-reviewed medical journals to ascertain this. At the same time, no adverse side effects of the use of probiotic supplements for autism have been reported.
Vitamin C can benefit autistic children because it enhances the function of various neurotransmitters. Another benefit would be its calming effect that could help improve autism symptoms significantly.
Carnosine has been found to have a positive effect on children with autism. According to some studies, carnosine is beneficial when taken regularly. It helps enhance picture recognition and vocabulary abilities in children. A small amount of carnosine should be given to children because large doses might attract adverse effects.
It is derived from the amino acid glycine. Dimethylglycine is an important supplement that can improve the concentration levels in autistic children. It also has a protein element that is vital for the optimum functioning of the brain cells. Amino acids are essential for the enhancement of attentiveness, ability to remain calm and complete tasks even in unfavorable situations. Since it is a significant part of brain neurotransmitters, there is a vast possibility of the supplement relieving ASD symptoms.
If you have autism or are a friend or family member to someone who does, you may have found this information helpful. The use of nootropics in managing ASD symptoms is relatively new, but it is quite promising. Talk to your physician before you include these nootropics in your diet for a guide on how to do it. Remember that overdosing could have detrimental effects. The information above is purely for information purposes. Any decision you take should be informed. All the best!